Florida couple Ann and Ken Fredericks celebrated their 60th anniversary Wednesday the same way they celebrated their first: with a bite from the top layer of their wedding cake.
Every August, the couple toast their long and happy marriage and crack open the metal Maxwell House Coffee can that holds the remains of the cake Ann Fredericks' grandmother baked six decades ago.
"Everybody just looks at us with these amazed looks when they hear about it," Ann told Florida Today.
"Every year, we unwrap it, pour brandy over it — because you need to moisten it — and we break off a piece," she said. "Now, our children are appalled that we would be eating something that's 60 years old. But believe me, it's quite tasty, as long as it's got enough brandy on it. And it's never made us sick."
Ann's grandmother made the three-layer dark fruitcake using fruit Ann's grandfather brought home while working on the docks in New York. The cake was baked a couple of months before the wedding so it could age and settle. A local bakery covered it with a hard shell so the fruit wouldn't bleed through, then a layer of butter cream frosting was applied.
"It looked like a three-layer white wedding cake," Ann said. Fruit cakes were popular as wedding cakes at the time, she said.
The Fredericks met at Syracuse University, where she majored in nursing and he studied music. They lived in New York for the first years of their marriage. After visiting Ken Fredericks' parents, who had retired and moved to Florida, they decided to follow in 1968.
After the annual bite, the cake, which is now about 4-by-3 inches big, was wrapped up and nestled back into its coffee can.
"We're hoping we can do it again next year," Ken said.
"It has lasted us 60 years, and so has the marriage," Ann said, "which is much more important than the wedding cake."